Read Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden Gary Blythe Online


When little Nona is sent from her sunny home in India to live with her relatives in chilly England, she is miserable. Then a box arrives for her in the post and inside, wrapped up in tissue paper, are two little Japanese dolls. A slip of paper says their names are Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Nona thinks that they must feel lonely too, so far away from home. Then Nona hWhen little Nona is sent from her sunny home in India to live with her relatives in chilly England, she is miserable. Then a box arrives for her in the post and inside, wrapped up in tissue paper, are two little Japanese dolls. A slip of paper says their names are Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Nona thinks that they must feel lonely too, so far away from home. Then Nona has an idea – she will build her dolls the perfect house! It will be just like a Japanese home in every way. It will even have a tiny Japanese garden. And as she begins to make Miss Happiness and Miss Flower happy, Nona finds that she is happier too....

Title : Miss Happiness and Miss Flower
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 12406141
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 116 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower Reviews

  • Manybooks
    2018-11-28 21:39

    Although the presented details on Japan and especially Japanese spiritual, living and furniture culture are most definitely interesting and even enlightening (but I do have to wonder a bit if at least some of this information might not also be potentially culturally stereotypical), when I was reading Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, I was actually and personally feeling so repeatedly annoyed, so frustrated and emotionally uncomfortable that (and even though I do feel more than a trifle guilty regarding this) I can only consider a one star rating at best (almost a two star ranking, as the details regarding Japanese houses, Japanese cultural practices I do find most intriguing, but still not quite, as there are two main problems, two massively and personally infuriating issues with Miss Happiness and Miss Flower that have just and completely, utterly rubbed and still continue to rub me the wrong proverbial way).As an immigrant to Canada from Germany (my family moved to Calgary, Alberta in 1976 when I was ten years old) and as someone for whom the immigration process was very difficult at times and required much adjustment and careful consideration, I am having huge issues with the fact that when the family (a British family in England) receives the two Japanese dolls, they basically completely create a "Little Japan" domicile, a totally and entirely Japanese dollhouse for them, and as such one that is not at all British but one hundred percent Japanese. Now do not get me wrong, I actually think that having a Japanese inspired doll house for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (who are clearly described as being culturally homesick) would have been a positive, but as an immigrant who did have to adjust to Canadian culture and such when my family moved from Germany to Canada, I for one think that the dollhouse Tom, Nona et al create and build for the two Japanese dolls, for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, should have really been a combination of both Japanese and British inspired culture, living spaces and furniture (which would have given the two dolls a feeling of home, of Japan, but would also be introducing them, getting them used to British life and traditions). For as interesting and yes as sweet as seeing Nona blossom whilst creating a typical Japanese dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, the "adapt to your country of residence" and the "embrace the culture of the country to which you immigrate" part of myself was and remains most uncomfortable with the dollhouse ending up being so one hundred percent Japanese in scope and feel (as for me, the perfect dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, seeing that they are now residing in England, would have been a fusion of Japanese and British, just like my own personal immigrant to Canada culture and lifestyle are a combination of German and Canadian).Now all the above being said, I probably still would have considered Miss Happiness and Miss Flower with a low three star rating, had I found the British family to which young Nona is sent more appealing and less annoyingly dysfunctional. When I first started reading the novel, I did and massively so find the youngest daughter (Belinda) absolutely loathsome and anger-inducing, until I (very quickly) realised that she (who had been the youngest, who had been the treasured and I guess spoiled pet of the family) is now being consistently ignored by all and sundry ever since the arrival of her cousin, ever since the arrival of Nona (who also though is not being even remotely granted the emotional help and guidance she obviously requires to make the transition from India to England easier for her, who also reads as being very much at least emotionally neglected and her real and present issues with depression and acute homesickness forgotten or at least not really being taken in any way seriously enough). Especially the parents (and even to an extent the older children Tom and Anne) are almost completely laid back and hands-off with regard to parenting, with regard to upbringing and thus, the two youngest, both Nona and Belinda appear to me as being rather sadly forgotten and ignored most of the time, with neither of them getting the emotional and psychological support they require and Belinda also not receiving the discipline and admonishments that her often outrageous and borderline violently lashing out behaviour requires (yes, Belinda is acting out for a very good reason, and she is definitely being left out and passed over, but not having consequences for her destructiveness and nastiness is as problematic as is the fact that she is no longer being seen and approached as the pet, as the little princess of the family). And while the fact that Belinda had most definitely been given the brush off and was feeling legitimately left out is finally (at the very end of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower) realised and acknowledged by the family, it still rather majorly chafes and bothers me that it is the oldest daughter Anne who notices this and not the persons who should have noticed and recified this, the mother and father, the parents, the two persons who are or should be most responsible for raising and nurturing their children, and their dependents (like Nona).And therefore, due to the fact that the two salient issues mentioned and described above really and truly have both massively chafed and angered me, I just cannot consider more than one star for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, simply because on an entirely personal level, I absolutely do vehemently despise much of Rumer Godden's featured narrative and that the dysfunction of the family in question is never really dealt with all that successfully (or actually not at ALL successfully). And while other readers might well and indeed love the Japanese dollhouse that becomes Miss Happiness' and Miss Flower's British home, for me, the dollhouse should most definitely have been a fusion of cultures and not an enclave of Japan in England (for as such an enclave, it is at best a curiosity and at worst, yes, rather a major textual and narrative shortcoming, as it seems to indicate and even support ghettoisation, the tendency for immigrants, refugees etc. to create their own neighbourhoods, their own enclaves within countries, with the resulting anger and social problems this often does tend to produce and engender across the board).

  • booklady
    2018-12-09 19:27

    I'm not even a doll person but I immediately fell in love with this book! Even now I'm hard pressed to say who captivated me more, the adorable little dolls named in the title who speak (only to the reader of course!) throughout this children's-book-for-adults or lonely Nora suddenly finding herself a stranger in her aunt's home in cold England after growing up wild and warm in India. And then there were her cousins, staunch Tom who coaxes and challenges Nora right from the start, wise and kind Anne or devilish, little Belinda whose daily delight lies in vexing her shyer relative. Other characters include a school chum and an eccentric bookshop owner as well as Nora's aunt and uncle. How Nora learns to feel at home in her new country comes through the fascinating process of creating a proper Japanese home for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Many of the intricacies of detail were lost on me, but were charming none the less. As I was reading, I kept thinking of so many doll-y and dollhouse types who would recognize familiar territory in all the tiny perfections so painstakingly described by the author.A treat! Very soon I'd like to read The Dolls' House by the same author. Going through some of my daughter's old books which I don't remember. Such fun!

  • Julie Davis
    2018-12-07 21:22

    In case you've missed my other comments about Rumer Godden's childrens' books, here are the basics. I love her children's books just as much as her novels for adults. Godden has a knack for incorporating local culture, awkward and unappreciated people, and interesting plot with a lovely prose style. She is unafraid to have her characters behave naturally which means that a story's crisis points will often leave readers feeling very uncomfortable because they recognize the behavior so well and dread the consequences thereof. Godden also is good at avoiding the "nice" sentimentality which can pervade children's books. Her world is always very real.This is one of those Godden books whose name I see come up repeatedly. There are many of Godden's familiar themes apparent both in the details of the children's self-appointed task and bonding and the idea of having to adapt to a foreign culture. However, what makes this story really spring alive is that we are allowed into Miss Happiness' and MIss Flower's thoughts and conversation. I believe they would say, "Honorable Miss Godden!"

  • Ywen
    2018-12-12 02:37

    Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is a stirring tale by Rumer Godden. It is the story of Nona Fell and her new family receiving two Japanese dolls from her Aunt Lucy Dickinson. Nona feels the sorrow and loneliness that the dolls are feeling, and decides to build them a new house, but this house becomes a home for not only the dolls, but also Nona. This story is very touching and sweet, and is a simple and classic tale for young students to enjoy. The story can be quite dramatic, but after a while, it transforms into a heart-warming classic tale. It is a touching and moving story of bravery and courage. Nona shows us how strong a wish can be, and shows that even a dolls wish is powerful thing. Rumer Godden is a talented author who moves all readers, and makes them feel part of the story. Reading this book not only gives you a taste of Japanese culture, but also warms the heart. I really recommend this book.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-20 22:21

    Reviewing two of Godden's adult novels made me re-read this most beloved book from my childhood. Nine-year-old Nona is living with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and she is a lonely, shy misfit in their lively family - until two little Japanese dolls arrive in the mail. The dolls long for their own Japanese dollhouse, and only Nona has the heart and intuition to make their dream a reality.Yeah, I was that girl. (Except not as cool as Nona) My own homemade dollhouse (made of orange crates, with hand-towel carpeting and gift-wrap wallpaper) was the best toy I ever owned. Nobody gets the internal life of dolls quite as intensely as Rumer Godden, bless her.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-15 23:33

    Sweet little book. Quiet, not much happens. A little girl who feels all alone in a new place is captivated by two little Japanese dolls. For some reason I was not very comfortable with the way the author broke the fourth wall. I felt talked down to. This doesn't always bother me, but it did in this book. Was it just my mood?

  • Holly
    2018-11-16 21:33

    A little dated but a great read aloud book. I liked how the children relied on each other and themselves and not the parents to do things for the dolls. I thought it was a great story of how the dolls helped Nona make friends and adjust to her new family. I also liked how Belinda, who was initially jealous, changed over the course of the book.

  • Emily
    2018-11-27 23:37

    Flapping fantastic. A kids' novel from another time where the characters aren't boring. Especially not Belinda. I was nothing like her in elementary school, but I knew kids like her and I still don't understand them. How can you not like books? And how can you be so confident? Where is all this confidence coming from, little girl? Belinda is a tornado and she's Nona's cousin. Nona came from India to live with her aunt and uncle and cousins. She's lonely, she reads and cries and misses India and her ayah. Belinda and Nona's great aunt in America sends them a package for Christmas with two Japanese dolls inside it. Belinda doesn't care about the dolls, but Nona thinks they should live in a Japanese dollhouse and not Belinda's English, messy one. The man at the bookshop lends her some books and Nona starts researching Japanese homes. Her cousin Tom, in vivid detail and with diagrams in case you might want to construct your own (you can!), helps her build a Japanese dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Belinda isn't happy. She doesn't give a rip about Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. She wants the doll their great aunt didn't send, Little Peach.This is a lovely book for young chapter book readers, full of gentle wit, imagination, detail, bossiness and information about traditional Japan and England and India at the end of the colonial era. Rumer Godden wrote dozens of books for children and adults and this is one of her finest. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower has a sequel, Little Plum.

  • emma grace
    2018-11-18 02:33

    October 2009 review:This was a very enjoyable book to read; it reminded me of something Frances Burnett would write. It was a lot like The Secret Garden, or The Little Princess. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are two little Japanese dolls that are sent to Nona Fell, a little girl from India, now living in England with some cousins. The dolls were sent to Anne and Belinda, Nona’s cousins, but Anne says she is too old for dolls and Belinda is not interested in them, so Nona takes them in. When Nona decides to make a proper Japanese doll house for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, she needs to enlist the help of her other cousin Tom who can do carpentry and build. When Nona goes to the bookstore to find a book on Japanese houses, she makes a new friend in the grouchy old bookkeeper. Soon, everyone in the family is interested in Nona’s doll house and Belinda begins to feel jealous of her. Belinda wishes that Nona would go back to India, but most of all she longs for Little Peach, a doll that was mentioned in the letter that came with Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, but was never sent. The doll house is built with success and in the end, Belinda receives Little Peach, whom Nona sent for for Belinda. End notes: In the back of the book, it has instructions on how to make your own Japanese doll house. This is an awesome book!!!

  • Heather
    2018-11-29 19:09

    Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are Japanese dolls that are given to two little girls living in England. The book is told from the point of view of the dolls. Nona, a lonely little girl who just moved to England from India loves the dolls and wants to build them a proper Japanese dollhouse. The other little girl is Nona’s cousin, whom she now lives with. Belinda is not very understanding of Nona’s loneliness and often mocks her. Though as the dollhouse gets built, with some help from her cousins, Nona learns about friendship both within and outside of her family.This is a delightful book that will engage readers today as it did over 40 years ago when it was first published. The author does a good job of capturing the feelings of the girls as well as the feelings of the dolls. The story introduces facts about Japanese culture and traditions by weaving them into the story. There is even a plan for the reader to construct her own dollhouse at the end of the book. Godden’s descriptions of the dollhouse were so vivid that I actually thought I remembered illustrations in the book that weren’t there.

  • MyBookAffair
    2018-11-23 21:29

    I felt that a book was needed to inspire my daughter on the wonders of playing with a doll's house. Now would be the perfect time for 'Miss Happiness and Miss Flower', I thought, Rumer Godden's children's book published in 1961; one of the most magical books there is on the subject of dolls and their houses.The plot: a girl from India comes to a strange land to live with her aunt and cousins. Nona Fell is lonely in this chilly English village, and feels out of place. But just then, she is given a set of Japanese dolls, to share with her spoilt cousin Belinda. The arrival of the dolls transforms her relationship with her environment and her relatives. The entire family, with the exception of Belinda, join together to help make a Japanese doll's house for the dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.... That is the story. To read my full review see my blog:

  • Barbara
    2018-11-27 19:18

    This is the simple and sweet story of Nona, an eight year old girl. She was born and raised in India by her father. (Her mother passed away.) Her father has sent her to England to live with relatives. She stays with an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Despite the relatives mostly warm welcome, Nona is homesick and lonely. One day two dolls arrive. Nona feels the dolls must be lonely. As she researches and builds them a Japanese style home (with the help of her cousin), she also develops her place of belonging and sense of home.There is also a nice back to school lesson where Nona feels that the girl that sits next to her is stuck up. Her aunt suggests that the girl may be shy. Nona doesn't think that could be the case, because she reasons she is the one that is shy. However once they start talking they quickly become good friends.

  • Tasia
    2018-11-29 21:29

    This book was so lighthearted and beautiful! Belinda annoys the ever-living daylights out of me, but the story was so full of hope and goodness that by the end she can't help but catch it. I don't really think, though, that all of her emotional issues stemmed from jealousy of Nona and the dolls; most of it just seems like Belinda is a real piece of work, made even more volatile by Nona's arrival.What I appreciated was that Miss Happiness and Miss Flower didn't become objectified Japanese signifiers; Nona says several times that the Japanese must be very brave people, and treats their way of life like an artform and not a quaint cutesy fantasy. Everyone who helps does so with research and respect. In the end, the dollhouse brings them together, and even teaches Belinda how not to be a little rotter.

  • Rebecca McNutt
    2018-11-26 02:29

    Aside from a few minor descriptions of Japanese culture that are a little dated by today's standards, this book is a spectacular classic about a lonely girl forced to leave India and live in England, whose best friends are two little dolls who might just have something magical about them. The book's illustrations were so wonderful, too! :D

  • Susann
    2018-11-15 20:18

    When two Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, arrive in England, lonely Nona musters her wits to create a suitable home for them. As in The Kitchen Madonna, Godden draws us into Nona's research, so that we learn about the traditional Japanese lifestyle and get excited as Nona's work starts to pay off. Godden always adds a twist, though, and this one comes in the form a jealous cousin. Found this lovely copy at the Strand on the 4th of July.

  • Hannah
    2018-11-24 19:36

    This is Rumer Godden at her best. The story is like beautiful music--cute, lyrical, and deeply moving. If you like Britain, or Japan, you'll like it. But if you love books about real people and real kids and real emotions, you'll love it. Plus, it's got a lot of interesting detail about building a Japanese doll house.

  • Jenne
    2018-12-08 20:29

    For such a short book, there is a surprising amount of atmosphere and characterization. I found myself getting very personally invested in this story, like NOOO BELINDA DON'T BREAK THE HOUSE!!! (Spoiler: the house is okay)Also I felt this horrible sinking feeling when Nona wished she could be a boy. :-( Girls can be leaders too, Nona!

  • Faith
    2018-11-27 21:29

    A really cute children's story about a young girl forced to move from her father's tea plantation in India to cold, cheerless England. It reminded me slightly of the intro for The Secret Garden, but the characters are different. It's about her quest to get a home for the two Japanese dolls that have just arrived from San Francisco. A fun read for kids.

  • LemontreeLime
    2018-11-18 23:39

    One of my very favorite all time childrens books. I think I read it a million times. I forgot the title for many years, and tried to find it again and again telling people the gist of the story... 'its about two dolls from japan that get their very own house...' and suffered many blank stares until I finally found it again in the late 90s by accident. It is (to me) such a sweet book.

  • Eatsyourface
    2018-12-04 21:21

    This book is like baby's first orientalist novel.

  • Brona's Books
    2018-11-24 01:22

    The story is aimed at the 8+ age group and features a young girl sent to England to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins from India. She is unhappy and shy and not fitting in, until a great-aunt sends her two little Japanese dolls for Christmas. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are also aliens in this very English world.Young Nona sets out to make them more comfortable by making a Japanese doll's house for them. She befriends the local librarian who helps her pick the right books and gradually the rest of the family get involved in building this miniature home complete with niche, bonsai and tea ceremony.The real delight for any budding designer though are the detailed drawings and instructions at the end of the book showing you how to make your very own Japanese doll's house. A quick google also revealed a whole world of people who have made their very own Japanese doll's house inspired by this charming book.Miss Happiness and Miss Flower was published in 1961 and has a few cultural clangers relevant to it's time, but the universal themes of belonging, tolerance and friendship make it all worth while.Full review here -

  • Abigail
    2018-11-15 03:23

    This is one of the most delightful-yet-deep books I've ever read. Cross-cultural issues and transitions, grief, friendship, familial love and tension, the beauty of creating and crafting, healing coming in unexpected ways. From what I've read about the author's own life and childhood, I would say this is semi-autobiographical. About the dolls traveling from the US to the UK, the author wrote, "I do not think they had been asked if they wanted to come--dolls are not asked."Then on the next page, she wrote, "Children are not asked either." And thus begins Nona's life in the UK after spending most of her formative years in India.

  • Suzanne Maley
    2018-11-28 22:34

    This was a book I loved as a child. As an adult I think it is charming. I didn't remember a lot about the book but looking back I can see that it had a big impact on me. This book led me to learn more about Japanese culture, explore the Japanese exhibits at the Philadelphia Art Museum and even get a Japanese pen pal. My enthusiasm also rubbed off on my sister who even wanted some of her ashes taken to Japan after she passed. Now to find the sequel.

  • Diane
    2018-12-10 03:09

    Still a favorite. I expect Becky chose this for the strong girl central characters as well as for the remembrance of Japan. If you're uncomfortable with certain aspects, keep in mind when this was written and what time period it was written about. Don't try to smother it in today's perspectives and judgements.

  • Maureen
    2018-11-17 21:39

    A little girl from India and two dolls from Japan try to feel at home with a British family. The family's son makes a real Japanese-style doll house, and the plans are in the back of the book in this edition. Good for a building unit.

  • Francesca Pashby
    2018-12-05 19:26

    Utterly charming ... a happy rediscovery from my childhood.

  • Just Another Bookish Blog
    2018-11-14 21:11

    Super cute fairytale-like story! Book 2 of Booktubeathon 2017 - read a book completely outside

  • Elizabeth Jamieson
    2018-11-28 02:39

    My favourite childhood book, with exquisite illustrations.

  • Tealmermaid
    2018-11-15 00:39

    The author's writing style is quite precise and clear. I especially enjoyed the footnotes that became the endnotes for the book to explain both the Japanese terms in the book and the techniques for constructing the house. The book is in many ways reminiscent of A Secret Garden and A Little Princess (i.e. child is sent from India to England for school). Very well-written if slightly dated.

  • Tealmermaid
    2018-11-12 01:09

    The author's writing style is quite precise and clear. The book is in many ways reminiscent of A Secret Garden and A Little Princess (i.e. child is sent from India to England for school). Very well-written if slightly dated. Note: This edition includes the dollhouse instructions at the back.